Movin' Right Along

I moved 2,009 miles from the west coast to the northern middle part of the country.  From a state that sort of looks like a sock to a state that I can't yet identify its location on a map.  I moved from a steady 60 degrees (+/- 20 every day) to a place of weather extremes: 97 degrees with a chance of snow.  I moved swiftly, but I didn't run.  I moved quietly, but made a rather large mess.  Two small shipping containers worth of a mess. 

Packing up my life and sorting through thirty something years of stuff is daunting and dreadful, really.  At first I was extremely organized and refused to pack things unnecessary to the good fortune of my life (a sweater with a hole will not bring me luck at my new job); things redundant (who needs five pairs of scissors? two paper cutters?); excessive amounts of things with no sentimental/financial/purposeful value (hello old notebooks from school, we meet again to say goodbye).  After launching into this process logically and artfully, I realized that the payoff for all my focused attention was a move-date already creeping through my front door.  And suddenly it was time to move.

When I looked at everything crammed into the containers, it seemed Tim and I really didn't have much stuff after all.  It was both a relief that my life isn't so laden with material things and a little depressing that I don't have more things that I actually care about.  I move entirely too much to possess anything of true value.  

Time to move. Time to move? Yes, time to move.  I still can't believe how fast this all happened.  The decision to move from Oakland to Minneapolis wrapped up in about 3.5 weeks.  This includes writing a resume and making a portfolio; applying, interviewing, and accepting a new job; giving two weeks notice at my (then current) job; saying goodbye to my friends; figuring out how one actually moves their life across the country; and finding a new place to live in a city we didn't visit beforehand. 

Despite the heat wave, Minneapolis has been good to us so far.  And so begins a new adventure.

It only makes sense that I moved my blog as well.  I will check-in periodically and see if it likes living here. 

I need to take more photographs. 

We stopped at Mt. Rushmore on the way.  IT'S HUGE! 

The Foshay Tower (in reflection).  Modeled after the Washington Monument and the tallest building in Minneapolis until 1972.

Metro Reflections. View from the Foshay Tower.  

Bottles at the Minnesota State Fair.  

A Refrigerator Full of Cake.   @Minnesota State Fair.

So Much Cake. And Cake. @Minnesota State Fair. 

My Backyard

Tim and I have been hiking a lot lately.  And by a lot, I mean once every few weeks.  Personally, I think this is fantastic progress from zero times every few weeks.

I discovered many things about my life when I traveled around the world, like, I have no idea where I live.
Welcome to California.
I have lived here for six years and it's about time we got to know each other.

Mt Tam; Redwood Regional Park 

Toast and Jam

March 23, 2012

I started waking up at 5am but was so exhausted I couldn't move.
Tim woke up around 6am singing "Mr. Roboto bring me some nachos."
We opted to try breakfast at one of the three restaurants in our swanky business hotel but the only vegan options were toast, salad, coffee, and kiwi.  I think it cost 100,000,000 yen.  Tokyo is expensive.

My fatal flaw. My Achilles heel. 
When I travel, I pretty much can't stop being hungry. And when it hits, it hits hard. And I need food now. Right now. Which is almost always problematic. Vegan food on the spot in countries where nothing is labeled in English and everything looks like it came from the deepest depths of the ocean is not an easy find. So here I am at the National Museum, in desperate need of food with only an apple to curb the pangs (did you ever notice that eating apples when you are hungry makes you hungrier?). What to do? I left Tim to hunt for food.  The main cafe looked like they didn't have anything suitable for my needs and since the women behind the counter didn't speak English, I sat at a table and sulked.  I then noticed a long chain of vending machines (Japan LOVES vending machines) and went to scout it out.  Still nothing I could understand so I bought a hot tea.  Well, I bought a cold tea, but not on purpose.  

I put on a smile and walked around the Museum to find Tim.  And then walked around again, and up, and down, and completely around.  Where did he go? I sat on a bench in a tiny vestibule with large glass doors looking out onto the garden.  The walls were clad in metallic tones that complimented the gray sky and the tinniness of falling rain.
Tim was finally hungry too and we sought out a well known vegan ramen restaurant, T's Tan Tan, located in the heart of Tokyo Station.  Tokyo Station is a city within a city; world within a world; boundless, endless, and completely flooded with people.  As our history here has already shown, we walked in circles trying to find the restaurant before giving up.  The woman at a help kiosk spoke enough English to understand "T's Tan Tan," whipped out a map and drew us a path.  We found the restaurant, a bright sign in English at the entrance and a menu completely in Japanese.  What could have been a complicated interaction proceeded smoothly, thanks to the generous use of pictures in menus. Since everything was vegan, we just pointed and were served.  The ramen was amazing (twirl and slurp), as was the pudding, and the fake chicken tofu gluten nugget things.
Everyone (minus Ashley) arrived that night and we shared our war stories of time travel exhaustion.  Tim, Al, and I went to get dinner at the Vegan Healing Cafe in Shibuya.  The website said it was open until 9pm with last orders at 8pm. After getting lost for awhile (the map on their website was wrong, really, it wasn't our fault) we got there at 8:01. Closed. We stood in the rain and laughed. We didn't map out another restaurant before we left the hotel and I didn't bring the paper city map. Al suggested that we ask the guy cleaning up inside if there is another vegan restaurant around.  I hadn't even noticed anyone inside and before I could weigh in on the question, Al knocked on the the window.  The guy opened the door and Tim tried to ask if he knew of another vegan restaurant in the neighborhood. The man didn't speak any English and Tim does all sorts of wild gesturing. The man smiled, said "ok ok ok" and motioned us inside.  He scrambled to set up a table as we awkwardly approached the chairs, uncertain if we should ruin his evening for the sake of our grumbling bellies.

I genuinely think he thought Tim was pleading with him to let us out of the rain.  But we ate fried soy meat and dal curry, and as much as I wanted to, Tim told me I wasn't allowed to ask for dessert. Boo. 
On our way back to the hotel, we walked through Shibuya Crossing, the busiest place in Tokyo? Japan? The Universe?  Based on a tip from the Lonely Planet Guide, we went to the second floor of the Starbucks in a building overlooking the intersection and watched colorful orbs of umbrellas fly across the street.

shibuya crossing